History

Vital Texas Landmarks Road Trip: Learning From Our Past, Part II

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The opportunity to learn from our past happens consistently in life – it’s the stuff that lessons, legends, and proverbs are made of! Here in Texas, we have an abundance of landmarks that can tell us more than a history book could on any given day, which is why we recommend you plan a road trip to make the most of them. The Texas Historical Commission has 22 sites for which it maintains pieces of state history, preserving them, and operating them to allow for us to learn, experience a part of our history, and see what shaped the great state we call home. Here is Part II of our road trip recommendations for vital Texas landmarks that can’t be missed.

1. Fulton Mansion

Vital Texas Landmarks Road Trip: Learning From Our Past, Part II

Photo: Facebook/Texas Time Travelling

The Fulton Mansion State Historic Site is located in Fulton, in Aransas County, along the Texas Gulf Coast. It is one of the earliest of its kind built in Texas and one of the most important of its style to be still in existence in the Southwestern U.S. Construction began on this home of Colonel George Ware Fulton and Harriet Gillette Smith in 1874 and was finished in 1877. Named “Oakhurst” by its owners, the residence could boast the most current conveniences of the time, including gas lighting, indoor plumbing that reached sinks in each bedroom, and central heating. It has changed hands a number of times over the years, including one family that converted the property into an RV park in the ‘50s. In 1976, the house, quite dilapidated by then, was sold to the state. It was then restored and became open to the public in 1983. It underwent a second equally intensive restoration from early 2013 into the fall of 2015.

2. French Legation

Vital Texas Landmarks Road Trip: Learning From Our Past, Part II

Photo: Facebook/French Consulate in Houston

Formerly known as the French Embassy, the French Legation State Historic Site is located in Austin, in the Texas Hill Country. A museum is maintained in what is recognized as the oldest building in the city. At one time, this site was the home of a diplomat to the Republic of Texas, sending visitors back in time to an era of great change. Built for the French chargé d’affaires, Alphonse Dubois, the home is now available for tours. According to the Texas Historical Commission, “On June 12, 2017, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 3810, to transfer the French Legation to the Texas Historical Commission (THC), effective September 1, 2017. Concurrent to the transfer of the property, the state agreed to allocate $1.56 million in emergency deferred maintenance funds to address the most pressing structural problems of the Legation building.” Subsequently, the home is presently undergoing an extensive restoration. However, upon re-opening (follow the THC website for updates), it will be the newest addition to their dossier of vital Texas landmarks that can’t be missed!

3. Mission Dolores

Vital Texas Landmarks Road Trip: Learning From Our Past, Part II

Photo: Facebook/Mission Dolores State Historic Site

Mission Dolores State Historic Site in San Augustine, which is also known as the Mission Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de los Ais, is a 36-acre historic site in East Texas that includes a 9-acre archaeological site. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it preserves the location of a Franciscan mission which was established in 1721. Found on the El Camino Real de los Tejas trail, although there are no remains of the mission above-ground, its location was confirmed through archeological digs. Today it is managed by the Texas Historical Commission and includes a museum, gift shop, campsites, and hiking trails.